I just got this question in my inbox (I took out some parts as it was long):
How do you tell when these type of contests, giveaways, etc. are legitimate and people are just out there to post them and get information? Is there a way to tell?
I worry a lot sometimes about identity theft, fraud, viruses and all those stupid things that seem to come along with the internet. What is your advise?
On my site, and all WordPress.com sites, when you enter your email address in the required field, it is secure and NOT shown to the public when your comment is posted, but is saved with the comment so if you win a giveaway we know how to contact you.
Some sites have you enter your email in the comment – spambots could find your email and spam you. I never enter those contests.
When you sign up for free samples, I sign up with a “junk email” address that I never check. It’s important; however, to sign up with a real email address for giveaways or you will (on my site & most giveaway sites) be ineligible to get your prize since when you are emailed to claim your prize you won’t get the email. But for free samples, they rarely confirm your email, so you can use a junk email for signing up for them.
Also, when you sign up for free samples, use a auto-form filler to save you time – no more manually entering your mailing address again and again. I use Mozilla Firefox’s add-on. Then since it is so quick to sign up, you don’t feel so bad if you never get it in the mail.
Also, to enter a giveaway or get a free sample, your social security number or credit card info should never be required – I would NEVER enter a giveaway or request a free sample that required that info.
Disclamer: I think this example below was a rare case, most bloggers I have met are highly ethical!
“Fake Giveaways”: really I have only come across one of these. I often click on my giveaway linky and view other sites giveaways, and if I like them, I contact the company sponsoring the giveaway and ask if they’d like to do one on my site as well. So I found a giveaway for Dyson Vacuums once, and emailed Dyson with a link to the giveaway and said I would like to host a giveaway. They responded that they weren’t sponsoring that giveaway! I looked at the blog hosting the “dyson giveaway” some more and noticed that they had an alexa rank of over 1 million. Companies sponsoring giveaways want them on sites with low alexa ranks. Thus I concluded the best way to decide if a giveaway is real is to look at the blogs rank (it’s easy! just type in the url at Alexa.com and it shows! You don’t have to sign up or login), and if the blog has a high alexa rank, but the giveaway is for a BIG item, it’s not a real giveaway.
Anything under 200,000 is a great alexa rank!
Blogs around 1 million alexa will still get giveaways that are legit! But they won’t be from Dyson or be high-value giveaways. That’s one way to tell, I know it’s a lot of work, but in my opinion most blog giveaways ARE legitimate. Giveaways get the word out about companies and they are happy to sponsor them. But they always check your stats before they sponsor you, at least this has been the case for me.
So in short, the more traffic a blog gets, the more high-value giveaways they are going to have.
I hope this answers your questions!
Ask CCD Readers: Chime in! Have you anything more to say or tips, or did long-winded me already say it all?